Underground arcade discovered

A subterranean shopping arcade which lay undiscovered for 120 years is set to reopen in West Yorkshire.

Arcade owners consider future of hidden Victorian street

The owners of the Royal Arcade in Keighley are wondering what to do with an entire Victorian street that's been discovered buried below their shopping centre.

The street dates back to the 1890s but they don't know if the units were just used for storage for the shops above or retail outlets in their own right. They're now considering whether to turn it in to a wine bar, develop it in to arts and crafts shops or preserve it exactly as it is.

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Underground shopping site will "fit in with past"

The man hoping to development an underground Victorian shopping arcade in Keighley says there are many planning restrictions - and anything built will fit in with its Victorian pa

"We’d be very restricted for what we could do.

"It’s mainly on safety and fire assessment grounds. If we can get these things sorted then we definitely will develop it.

"It’s something we would really like to do. We’ve looked at opening it up with craft shops. It will be a working environment - shops that would fit in with what it used to be. We’ll utilise what’s in there."

– Nick Holroyd, manager of the Royal Arcade in Keighley

Other ideas being considered include creating a visitor attraction or converting the old shops for use by craftsmen and specialist traders.

Architect brought in to restore "forgotten shopping street"

Builders found original doors, signs and fittings when they discovered the Victorian arcade Credit: Nick Catford, Subterranea Britannica

When builders discovered an underground shopping arcade in Keighley, much of the Victorian building work on the cellars of seven shops was still intact, while wooden shop-fronts and stable pens were in place.

Constructors also found doors, signs and fittings from some of the original shops in the street, which was then owned by Frank Booth and Mark Holroyd.

Now Nick Holroyd, manager of the Royal Arcade, which is above the discovery, is investigating whether the street - once at ground level - can be restored.

He has enlisted an architect and structural engineer - and plans are being made to develop the street, which has space for up to eight units.

Underground Victorian street could open for business

The shops discovered under the Royal Arcade in Keighley in 2002 Credit: Nick Catford, Subterranea Britannica

Shoppers may soon be able to bag a basement bargain - and walk through a secret Victorian shopping street after it was announced the street could reopen for business.

The subterranean cavern of former shops and stables were uncovered under the Royal Arcade, a two-storey complex of stores and flats in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

Last used in the 1890s, it was found after builders smashed their way through while converting the arcade in 2002.

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